Do I Need a Lawyer for a Car Accident?

Did you get involved in a car accident that resulted in one or more injuries? Have the medical bills associated with your injuries put you in a deep financial hole? After reading the official police report, are you convinced another party committed at least one act of negligence? If you answered yes to all three questions, then the answer to the question, “Do I need a lawyer for a car accident?” is an emphatic yes. Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer who specializes in litigating car accident cases should give you more legal leverage than if you handled the case yourself.

Victims of car accidents that involve one or more acts of negligence should retain legal representation to address the multiple issues that arise during the course of a case. However, what if negligence did not play a role in causing your injuries and you simply got involved in an accident in which neither party should accept legal liability for causing the collision? Do you need a state-licensed car accident lawyer to help you file an insurance claim? The claim form seems simple enough to fill out and you appear to have enough physical evidence to submit a persuasive argument that you deserve compensation to cover financial losses.

Although filing an insurance claim is an easier process than submitting the legal documents to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages, you should hire an experienced car accident lawyer to prevent the insurance company processing your claim from taking advantage of you. Many insurance companies take advantage of policyholders that do not retain legal representation by either denying valid claims or approving claims for a value that is nowhere near the value of compensation they deserve. In addition, a car accident lawyer closely monitors the progress of your claim to ensure it receives a review in a timely manner.

For more than three decades, Morgan and Morgan has represented clients that required legal support after a vehicle collision. Our highly-rated attorneys have recovered more than $14 billion in monetary damages from personal injury cases, with a significant percentage of the compensation coming from favorable judgments issued for car accident lawsuits. If you sustained one or more injuries as a result of an auto crash, we strongly encourage you to schedule a free case evaluation with a car accident lawyer from Morgan and Morgan.

More answers to commonly asked questions

You need an attorney to determine what caused the car accident that led to you sustaining one or more injuries. Determining the cause of the vehicle collision forms the foundation for establishing that another party committed at least one act of negligence.

With more than 30 years of experience handling personal injury cases, Morgan and Morgan has come up with a list of the four most common causes of auto crashes.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving comes in many forms, from failing to use a turn signal to passing other vehicles in a no-passing zone. Nonetheless, the most common types of reckless driving are speeding and running through a traffic signal or stop sign.

In 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a study that showed speeding motorists contributed to more than 25 percent of all car accident fatalities. Speeding makes it difficult, if not impossible for a driver to react in time to a sudden threat. The faster a motor vehicle moves, the more devastating the impact is on both vehicles. The second most common type of reckless driving concerns motorists who run red lights and stop signs. This dangerous maneuver can cause a side impact crash, which frequently results in serious, if not life-threatening injuries such as a concussion and/or spinal cord damage.

Hiring a personal injury attorney to handle your car accident case helps you obtain critically important physical evidence, such as video captured from a nearby traffic camera.

Distracted Driving

Distractions include eating, applying makeup, and reaching for something that forces a driver to turn away from watching the road. The advent of digital technology has created the perfect storm for drivers to hold conversations on cell phones, as well as send text messages while operating a motor vehicle. Despite states passing laws that ban texting and driving, most drivers continue to perform the dangerous practice.

Texting and driving is especially dangerous because it takes a driver’s eyes completely off the road. 

Driving Under the Influence

Public relations campaigns against drinking and driving have put a small dent in the number of car accidents caused by intoxicated motorists but is not enough of a dent to make much of a difference. Most states have set the maximum blood alcohol content (BAC) at 0.08. If a motorist registers a BAC above 0.08, the motorist, law enforcement can charge the driver with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence. Drugs and alcohol impair a driver’s judgment to the point that making a poor decision can place other drivers and passengers in harm’s way. Driving while intoxicated also significantly reduces the reaction time of an impaired motorist.

Bad Weather

Sometimes, Mother Nature represents the cause of a motor vehicle accident. In this case, unless a motorist committed one or more traffic violations right before impact, the cause of a weather-related collision goes in the official police report as an accident. If poor weather conditions caused you or another driver to lose control of a vehicle, filing an insurance claim represents the only way for either party to recover from the financial losses generated by the auto crash.

Reviewing the official police report helps your car accident lawyer determine whether inclement weather played a prominent role in causing a car accident.

For the big picture, hiring an experienced personal injury attorney from Morgan and Morgan is important for two reasons: Filing an insurance claim and a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages if your car accident lawyer proves negligence caused you to sustain injuries. However, you need a lawyer for a car accident case for several other reasons.

Conduct a Thorough Investigation

Unless you get involved in a minor fender bender in a parking lot, you should call 911 after a motor vehicle accident. The responding law enforcement agency secures the accident scene to prevent additional damage, as well as conducts an investigation that tries to determine the cause of the collision. Although your car accident lawyer refers to the official police report when reviewing your case, your attorney also conducts a separate investigation in an attempt to acquire more physical evidence to strengthen your insurance claim and possibly a personal injury lawsuit.

Your lawyer’s investigation also includes interviewing witnesses to build legal support for your version of events.

Calculate a Reasonable Value for Compensation

Notice the word “reasonable.” One of the most common reasons why insurance adjusters deny claims and judges refuse to award monetary damages concerns the submission of an unreasonable value for compensation. Your attorney adds up the costs associated with tangible expenses, such as lost wages, medical bills, and the repairs done on property damage. Calculating a reasonable value for economic damages is easy to do, but the same cannot be said for assigning a value to non-economic damages, such as the costs associated with pain and suffering. Auto crashes can trigger symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which include acute anxiety and/or an intense fear of driving.

Your car accident lawyer calculates a reasonable value for pain and suffering by using a formula that factors in the value of economic damages.

Act as an Intermediary With the Insurance Company

The aftermath of a car accident can produce considerable stress and frustration, which can ramp up a few notches if you have to deal with an insurance company. Hiring a car accident lawyer to act as an intermediary between you and an insurance adjuster allows you to focus your attention on other accident-related issues, such as recovering from your injuries and earning enough money to take care of costly repairs and medical bills. You also do not have to manage stress levels as often because your attorney addresses any problems that arise with your insurance claim.

Negotiate a Settlement

Most personal injury lawsuits never reach the costly and time-consuming trial phase of the litigation process. Instead, both parties agree to negotiate a settlement that keeps the case from ever seeing the lights inside a civil courtroom.

Negotiations start when your car accident lawyer submits a reasonable value for compensation. The other party can either accept the initial offer or reject it. If the other party rejects the initial offer, you might receive a counteroffer or a letter stating the other party has decided to move the case to the trial phase of the litigation process. Several rounds of counteroffers can follow the initial offer until both parties agree to a favorable settlement or decide to forgo negotiations and instead, take the case in front of a civil court judge.

Your car accident lawyer has the opportunity to settle an insurance claim by negotiating with the insurance adjuster processing your claim.

Meet the Deadline for Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Your car accident lawyer is responsible for ensuring you file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages before the expiration of the statute of limitations. Every state has established a deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit, with most states setting the deadline between two and four years to take legal action. However, you might live in a state that grants plaintiffs as long as six years or as short as one year to take legal action. The clock starts ticking for your personal injury lawsuit on the day when you got involved in a car accident that produced your injuries. You might receive an extension if your attorney can prove you sustained one or more injuries that developed delayed symptoms.

One of the most common reasons why car accident victims refuse to seek legal support is the cost of retaining an experienced car accident lawyer. At Morgan and Morgan, we charge our clients on a contingency fee basis to handle car accident cases, which means you do not pay any upfront fees for legal services. We get paid when you get paid.

Schedule a free case evaluation with a car accident lawyer from Morgan and Morgan to determine the best course of legal action.